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Youngkin amendment would reduce restitution for wrongfully-convicted man by $1

Youngkin Executive Order Signature
Steve Helber/AP
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AP
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin prepares to sign executive orders in the governors conference room at the Capitol, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Lawmakers are about to consider a bill to determine the exact dollar amount to pay someone who was wrongfully convicted and spent 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. The governor wants to reduce the amount of money by one dollar.

"How's everybody doing? I'm Bobbie Morman, and I have something to read or whatever. But I'm just going to talk."

That’s Bobbie Morman introducing himself to members of the House Courts of Justice Committee a few months ago.

"I was locked up in 1993 for a drive-by shooting, which I didn't do," Morman who spent 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, said.

bobbie morman.png
UVA Innocence Project
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Bobbie Morman Jr., pictured with his mother.

"I got a lot of issues going on. Stuff that happened in prison."

Now, Virginia is trying to figure out how to compensate him.

"Y'all don't get what we went through," he explained. "So, like, getting this right will help us and our families."

Governor Glenn Youngkin does not think that lawmakers got it right, and now he has an amendment that would reduce the amount of restitution he’ll receive by one dollar. A spokeswoman for the governor says the amendment corrects a drafting error.

Delegate Rip Sullivan of Arlington works with wrongfully convicted people every year, and he says he’s shocked and disappointed by the governor’s amendment.

"The symbolism of having this gentleman shorted a dollar I think is just terribly unfortunate for the Commonwealth," Sullivan says. "And I'm so disappointed that it doesn't feel to me that the governor and his team are ready for primetime."

Lawmakers will have to vote on an amendment to reduce the amount of restitution for Bobbie Morman by one dollar when they meet in Richmond next week.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria. He has reported for NPR, the New York Daily News and the Alexandria Gazette Packet. He has a master's degree in American Studies from Florida State University, and he is a former adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. He is the author of four books.